The African Development Bank (AfDB) is confident a newly secured $23 million grant under the Agriculture Fast Track Fund, will go a long way to improve some aspects of the Agriculture value chain in Ghana.
The funds, which will benefit 17 new projects in 8 countries, is expected to be used for feasibility studies, market analysis, environmental and social impact assessments among others, to aid in the development of a strong pipeline of “bankable” agriculture infrastructure projects.
The Agriculture Fast Track Fund (AFT Fund) custodians of the $23 million dollar grant which was provided by the governments of Denmark (through DANIDA), the US government (through USAID), and Sweden (through Sida), is managed by the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department of the African Development Bank.
Of the 17 Small- and Medium-sized Agribusinesses to benefit from the grant, Ghana and Tanzania had the highest number of four beneficiaries each, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Mozambique all had two beneficiaries each, while Ethiopia, Nigeria and Senegal all had single beneficiaries.
Coordinator of the AFT Fund at the AFDB, Dr. Jonas Chianu in an interview with Citi Business News on the sidelines of the launching mission of the 17 newly approved grant projects, highlighted the criteria for the selection of the grantees and the expected impact of the fund.
“When we are looking at the proposals we get, we look at the impact on job creation, gender as well as the impact on agricultural infrastructural development. We expect that because we are intervening from 10 countries the impact of our project will widespread going forward.”
On his part, the head of the Africa Development Unit at the Ministry of Finance Emmanuel Fordjour while commending the donor agencies and the African Development Bank for the funds, said the key role the funding program comes to play within the context of government's own plans of transforming the agriculture sector in Ghana.
“Government should naturally be providing such support to Ghana agribusinesses, but due to the ever-increasing demand on government funds it is unable to. It, therefore, is a relief to have AfDB support SME's to enable them come up with bankable projects which will eventually support the growth of the agriculture value chain on the continent.”
The 17 beneficiaries Small- and Medium-sized Agribusinesses are expected to receive between $100,000 and $1.5 million dollars for their feasibility studies among other.
For one of the grantees, John Carl Dunyo of Farmeline, the fund will support their attempts to scale up their businesses.
“Hopefully this fund will help us conduct a feasibility study on establishing warehouses in the Upper West Region, Brong Ahafo Region and Ashanti Region of Ghana.”
The fund, according to the Techiman Processing Complex Limited will ultimately assist them in their efforts to improve all aspects of the tomato value chain in the Techiman area and the country at large. Wil Aparloo Ofori is the CEO of Techiman Processing Complex Limited.
“Hopefully this fund helps us secure the needed funds down the line to be able to put the needed systems in place to improve tomato industry value chain. This will put us in a position to produce enough tomatoes so that our market queens will stop going to Burkina Faso for tomatoes.”